Saturday, December 25, 2010

Oh that faded brand





Marci Stone (US Headlines Examiner) reports, "Friday afternoon, Santa is currently in Baghdad, Iraq and on his next stop is Moscow, Russia, according to the 2010 NORAD Santa Tracker. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa as he makes his annual journey throughout the world." Gerald Skoning (Palm Beach Post) quotes Santa saying, "We send our special wishes for peace and goodwill to all. That includes the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea." Please note that this is Santa's seventh trip to Iraq since the start of the Iraq War and, as usual, his journey was known in advance. No waiting until he hit the ground to announce he was going to Iraq -- the way George The Bully Boy Bush had to and the way US President Barack Obama still has to. In the lead up to Santa's yearly visit, many 'authorities' in Iraq began insisting that Christmas couldn't be celebrated publicly, that even Santa was banned.
Shemmi Hanna stating, "I wasn't hurt but I wish that I had been killed. I wish I had become a martyr for this church, but God kept me alive for my daughters." Shemmi Hanna was in Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad when it was assaulted October 31st and she lost her husband, her son, her daughter-in-law and her infant grandson in the attack. The October 31st attack marks the latest wave of violence targeting Iraqi Christians. The violence has led many to flee to northern Iraq (KRG) or to other countries. Zvi Bar'el (Haaretz) notes, "This week the Iraqi legislature discussed the Christians' situation and passed a resolution in principle to help families who fled. However, the parliament does not know where the Christians are, how many are still in Iraq, in their homes, and how many have found asylum in Iraqi Kurdistan." John Leland (New York Times) reports:

The congregants on Friday night were fewer than 100, in a sanctuary built for four or five times as many. But they were determined. This year, even more than in the past, Iraqi's dwindling Christian minority had reasons to stay home for Christmas.
"Yes, we are threatened, but we will not stop praying," the Rev. Meyassr al-Qaspotros told the Christmas Eve crowd at the Sacred Church of Jesus, a Chaldean Catholic church. "We do not want to leave the country because we will leave an empty space."

Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Rimon Metti's family will go to Christian services on Christmas Day, but his relatives will be praying for their own survival and wondering whether this is their last holiday season in Baghdad. If they had any grounds for optimism about the future of their faith in Iraq, it vanished this year amid repeated attacks on fellow believers." Shahsank Bengali (McClatchy Newspapers) adds, "Nearly two months after a shocking assault by Islamist militants, Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church will commemorate Christmas quietly, with daytime mass and prayers for the dead, under security fit more for a prison than a house of worship. It is the same at Christian churches across Baghdad and northern Iraq, where what's left of one of the world's oldest Christian communities prepares to mark perhaps the most somber Christmas since the start of the Iraq war."
Meanwhile Taylor Luck (Jordan Times) reports on Iraqi refugees in Jordan:

Although the calendar will say December 25, for Theresa, Saturday will not be Christmas.
There will be no cinnamon klecha cooling on the dining room table, no outdoor ceramic nativity scene, no readings of hymns with relatives.
The 63-year-old Iraqi woman has even refused to put up Christmas lights in the crowded two-room Amman hotel apartment she has called home since fleeing Baghdad last month.
"There is no holiday spirit. All we have is fear," she said.
This holiday will instead mark another year without news from her 46-year-old son, who was kidnapped outside Baghdad in late 2006.

From Turkey, Sebnem Arsu (New York Times -- link has text and video) notes the increase in Iraq refugees to the country since October 31st and quotes Father Emlek stating, "I've never seen as many people coming here as I have in the last few weeks. They also go to Lebanon, Jordan and Syria but it seems that Turkey is the most popular despite the fact that they do not speak the language." Jeff Karoub (AP) reports on the small number of Iraqi refugees who have made it to the US and how some of them "struggle with insomnia, depression and anxiety."
One group in Iraq who can openly celebrate Christmas are US service members who elect to. Barbara Surk (AP) reports that tomorrow Chief Warrant Officer Archie Morgan will celebrate his fourth Christmas in Iraq and Captain Diana Crane is celebrating her second Christmas in Iraq: "Crane was among several dozen troops attending a Christmas Eve mass in a chapel in Camp Victory, an American military base just outside Baghdad." Marc Hansen (Des Moines Reigster) speaks with six service members from Iowa who are stationed in Iraq. Sgt 1st Class Dennis Crosser tells Hansen, "I certainly understand from reading the paper what's going on in Afghanistan and the attention definitely needs to be on the troops there. But everyone serving here in Operation New Dawn appreciates a little bit of attention as we finish this up."

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"What's really happening?"

        Thursday, December 23, 2010

        What's really happening?





        At ZNet, Dahr Jamail reports on military rape and we'll note this section:

        A Command Sergeant Major told Catherine Jayne West of the Mississippi National Guard, "There aren't but two places for women -- in the kitchen or in the bedroom. Women have no place in the military."

        She was raped by fellow soldier Private First Class Kevin Lemeiux, at the sprawling Camp Anaconda, north of Baghdad. The defense lawyer in court merely wanted to know why, as a member of the army, she had not fought back.

        The morning after the rape, an army doctor gave her a thorough examination. The army's criminal investigation team concluded her story was true. Moreover, Lemeiux had bragged about the incident to his buddies and they had turned him in. It seemed like a closed case, but in court the defense claimed that the fact that West had not fought back during the rape was what incriminated her. In addition, her commanding officer and 1st Sergeant declared, in court, that she was a "promiscuous female."

        In contrast, Lemeiux, after the third court hearing of the trial, was promoted to a Specialist. Meanwhile his lawyer entered a plea of insanity.

        He was later found guilty of kidnapping but not rape, despite his own admission of the crime. He was given three years for kidnapping, half of which was knocked off.

        Dahr's exploring the realities of rape. It's a shame others haven't shown the same interest in the topic. Instead, they've spent the bulk of the month shaming, trashing and attacking two women who may have been raped by Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. One of the people engaging in harmful attacks -- harmful to all women -- has been Keith Olbermann and he wonders what happens if Julian Assange isn't guilty? Kate Harding breaks it down for him:

        A: That wouldn't change anything the majority of us are saying.

        • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that he was accused of rape.
        • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that unprotected consensual sex is perfectly legal in Sweden.
        • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that the allegations are about far more than a broken condom.
        • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that you didn't correct Michael Moore when he distorted all of the above facts during an interview with you.
        • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that you personally spread ridiculous misinformation as well.
        • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that you boosted the signal on a patently ludicrous, nakedly sexist article by an unreliable writer. [UPDATE: Olbermann just said on Twitter that he "repudiated the linked article weeks back when the author was alleged to have been a holocaust denier." I have no idea where he did that, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.] [UPDATE 2: On Dec. 7, he tweeted "If the author of that article is a holocaust denier, I repudiate him and what he wrote, and apologize for retweeting the link" in an @ reply to user @mcmoynihan -- meaning it would only show up in feeds of people who follow both Olbermann and Moynihan, and on Olbermann's main page -- not in his 150K+ followers' feeds. So yes, he apologized for that before #mooreandme started, but not quite publicly.)
        • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that trivializing real rape allegations contributes to a culture in which victims are hesitant to report being raped for fear that they won't be believed.
        Elaine noted that last night and explained of the attacks on the two women and those who object to the attacks on the women, "I'm tired of this nonsense where women are supposed to shut up because there's a 'bigger' issue." Rebecca highlighted Harriet J (Fugitivus) who is calling for Gloria Steinem and other name-feminists to publicly denounce Naomi Wolf's insulting statements regarding rape:
        I ask that you denounce Naomi Wolf's comments on Assange's rape charges.
        I ask that you denounce that "no means no" is all there is to rape.
        I ask that you acknowledge that "yes means yes" is now a part of the feminist lexicon, wherever it might go, however it might evolve from here.
        I ask that you acknowledge that "enthusiastic consent" is a theory highly worth pursuing.
        I ask you to do this because you have names that people recognize as part of feminism. So does Naomi Wolf. And now we are all experiencing, en masse, the old phenomenon: "I know somebody who is a feminist, and they think this is fine." A big-name feminist has said, publicly, that initiating sex with a partner who is asleep is not rape. That ripping a woman's clothes off is not a force, is not a threat, is not violence, has no bearing upon the context of safety. That political targets are incapable of raping, because there can be no reason for them to be accused that is not politically motivated. This has given permission to all those who believe the same to tell us that we are wrong. The new guard, we know each other's names, but the general public doesn't know us very well yet. We do not have the weight of years of revolution behind us. When Naomi Wolf says that sleeping women can be raped legally, this becomes public knowledge. When we say, "yes means yes," the general public does not hear, and the general public does not care. They can now point to Naomi Wolf and say, "You are wrong. You are not feminism. She is. And she says I can do this to you, and you can't do anything about it."
        You have names. You have voices. Please give us somebody else to point to when we are told that we can be raped in the ways Naomi Wolf has decreed are acceptable. Please let us know that we are not on our own, that we have not already broken away, and did not hear the crack until Naomi Wolf "agreed to disagree" about our bodily autonomy, our safety. Please let us know that, with one arrogant statement, feminists cannot really erase the rapes that have been experienced by countless survivors. Please let us know that you hear us, that you believe we are feminism, too. Please do not let Naomi Wolf become the voice of what is rape, because rapists were listening when she spoke, and judges, and juries, and future victims who will spend their lives believing it was their fault, and they are always saying "yes" if they are not shouting "no."
        And Ann noted her objection to the insulting remarks Naomi Wolf's been making and boiled it down to, "I was raped. Naomi wasn't." Which is one more reason that Naomi should not have been allowed to represent as the face of this issue. These are not minor points. Moving to the topics of peace and resistance, David Swanson (War Is A Crime) notes:
        You say protests are outmoded because the corporate media ignores them (unless they're corporate sponsored). I say the corporate media is outmoded because it ignores protests.
        The coming year is going to see intense resistance to the plutopentagonocracy from volunteer representatives of that majority of Americans that opposes its agenda. We are not going to ask for the media cartel's approval or permission. We are going to continue developing our own communications systems, which are already working well.
        If we abandon the work of protest and resistance, those acts will soon be criminalized. If we abandon the work of self-communication we will each come to believe that the rest of us support that criminalization. There is another way.
        William T. Hathaway's new book "Radical Peace: People Refusing War," tells true stories of people helping U.S. soldiers to desert and hide, chasing military recruiters out of schools, educating young people as counter-recruitment, caring for veterans, vandalizing recruiting stations, and burning unguarded tanks and airplanes. Many people will like some of these stories and not others. Personally I thought the Afterword was dumb enough to almost ruin an otherwise remarkable and wonderful book. The point is that these are stories that it is up to us to tell each other.
        As I travel the country on a book tour I hear in about equal parts from people doing extraordinary things that nobody knows about and from people complaining that nobody is doing anything. We do not have an activism shortage so much as a communications shortage. People are engaged in civil resistance to the government, the banks, and the war machine in great numbers and with stunning creativity.

        It's an interesting column that becomes worthless at the end when David wants to weigh in on Panhandle Media. Panhandle Media is useless and David should know that. One of his best friends semi-publicly called it out -- it was there for all to hear (I heard it, I agreed with the call, I didn't emphasize it here because I know how petty they are in the Circle Jerk and that ____ would have been banned from the reigndeer games if the comments were widely distributed). Of his list, if she's not focusing on electoral politics, Laura Flanders is the only one of any value (and I say that as someone with a very good FSRN friend). In terms of peace and resistance, Laura can do a show on that (and does) and no one can touch her. It's a shame she's sullied her image and name by becoming a Democratic Party cheerleader. (Although, in fairness, her program has been co-opted by The Nation magazine.) And, point of fact, we don't need to invest in any of these programs. You're looking for answers outside of yourself and that's why you're failing. I'll be damn honest, Elaine, Ava and I are never giving a damn penny to Panhandle Media again. (I can still be guilted into KPFA donations if enough KPFA friends whine about the station going under.) It's useless, it doesn't focus on the things that matter (ending wars) but works overtime to whore for the Democratic Party. Every program David lists whored for the Democratic Party in 2008 instead of making demands, instead of staying focused on the wars. That's reality and we're not tossing money out to that and we're telling everyone else not to either. There's no point in it. We don't need Washington Week "but for the left!" We never did.
        The left would be smart to realize that most of the money they once had access to is gone because they whored. When they did that, they ensured that those of us who are not going to lie for the Democratic Party will not give money. And those who are happy with the whoring? They'll always put the money into the Democratic Party first and foremost. That's reality.
        Reality is also that most programs don't need a budget these days and Air America Radio was a success -- BRIEFLY -- when it was working on the streaming model. Those first few months, AAR was a success. Yes, you will miss people without computers but considering how the left -- especially the Socialist left -- has attacked the White poor in this country over and over in the last two years, that might actually be a plus.
        David believes that Big Money's coming. I don't think so. I think the left that wants to build would be smart to look at how they build one-on-one and grasp that they can do that on a larger scale without needing anyone else. You have the answers inside you and the power is within your grasp. Focusing on a Big Daddy is just a cop out that allows you to justify your own inaction. (David Swanson is on the road currently and is quite often on the road, I'm speaking of the left in general.)
        But let me make it clear (and Elaine has many times at her site), we gave to all the left. Democratic, Socialist, Communist, etc. We didn't care. The point was to end the Iraq War and to get rid of Bush. (Not to get rid of Bush and replace him with a repackaged version.) Those days are gone. That money was wasted. Not because the illegal war continues (although it does) but because people whored. That was especially appalling when it came from Socialist and Communists whom you would think would have the good sense not to sully themselves by whoring for a political party they're not a member of. There is no song-and-dance that will sway me again. My donations go to children's causes and issues I believe in such as feminism, LGBT rights and immigration rights. I have no use for the so-called 'organized left.' That's true of a large number of wealthy, left women today, we're sick of it. And these attacks on the two women who may have been raped only ensure that we remain sick of it. Why the hell would any self-respecting woman fork over big money to support a system that repeatedly kicks us and our rights to the curb? Get real, the money's gone. Many men agree with us and the bulk of the men that might give are engaged in the pissing match with Warren Buffet.
        The real answer is for people to use their own power. That means writing stories to be widely distributed -- and noting that they can be widely distributed -- doing the same with photos and with videos. There's no need for the press -- not even the Beggar Media. David Swanson participated in last Thursday's action in DC as did author, activist and journalist Chris Hedges who reflects on it at Information Clearing House:
        The speeches were over. There was a mournful harmonica rendition of taps. The 500 protesters in Lafayette Park in front of the White House fell silent. One hundred and thirty-one men and women, many of them military veterans wearing old fatigues, formed a single, silent line. Under a heavy snowfall and to the slow beat of a drum, they walked to the White House fence. They stood there until they were arrested.
        The solemnity of that funerary march, the hush, was the hardest and most moving part of Thursday's protest against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It unwound the bitter memories and images of war I keep wrapped in the thick cotton wool of forgetfulness. I was transported in that short walk to places I do not like to go. Strange and vivid flashes swept over me -- the young soldier in El Salvador who had been shot through the back of the head and was, as I crouched next to him, slowly curling up in a fetal position to die; the mutilated corpses of Kosovar Albanians in the back of a flatbed truck; the screams of a woman, her entrails spilling out of her gaping wounds, on the cobblestones of a Sarajevo street. My experience was not unique. Veterans around me were back in the rice paddies and lush undergrowth of Vietnam, the dusty roads of southern Iraq or the mountain passes of Afghanistan. Their tears showed that. There was no need to talk. We spoke the same wordless language. The butchery of war defies, for those who know it, articulation.
        What can I tell you about war?
        War perverts and destroys you. It pushes you closer and closer to your own annihilation -- spiritual, emotional and, finally, physical. It destroys the continuity of life, tearing apart all systems, economic, social, environmental and political, that sustain us as human beings. War is necrophilia. The essence of war is death. War is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. It is organized sadism. War fosters alienation and leads inevitably to nihlism. It is a turning away from the sanctity of life.
        There were many actions on Thursday. Grandmothers Against the War's Joan Wile is the author of Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace. Joan took part in an NYC action last Thursday and she writes:
        Approximately 75 people braved the freezing temperatures on the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 16 to rally against the war in Afghanistan. They gathered on Military Island, the small traffic island housing the Times Square recruiting station (now laughably tagged the Army Career Center) as a sympathy rally for the one held in D.C. earlier that day at the White House, during which 135 people were arrested.
        In Times Square, 11 stalwarts blocked a stretch of Broadway for about 10 minutes before they were handcuffed and hauled off by the New York City police to a nearby jail.
        The Big Apple event was populated by many Veterans for Peace and lots of peace grannies from the Granny Peace Brigade, the Raging Grannies and
        Grandmothers Against the War. Two of the grandmothers were in their 90's but stood for more than an hour in the cold throughout the action. There was a contingent of Catholic Workers, War Resister Leaguers, the Green Party, and other anti-war groups, also.
        After the Raging Grannies sang a few of their peace songs, names of New York State war dead in Afghanistan were read. Then, leaders in the peace movement spoke, including Bill Gilson, Vice President of local chapter 34 of Veterans for Peace; Carmen Trotta of the Catholic Workers; Barbara Harris, chair of the Counter Recruitment Committee of the Granny Peace Brigade; Tom Syracuse of the Green Party, and Alicia Godberg, Executive Director of Peace Action New York State.
        And then came the civil resistance, at exactly 6 p.m. As the Times Square crowds swarmed around, the bright lights sparkled and flashed, 11 hardy souls fanned out across Broadway at the intersection with 44th St. and refused to move. The other rally participants shouted "Peace Now," "Stop the War," "Arrest Bush and Cheney, not these Patriots," as they observed their comrades loaded into the paddy wagons.
        The event was organized by one of the arrestees, Bill Steyert, a Vietnam war vet with the Vets for Peace, who said: "I think it was a travesty that the war in Afghanistan wasn't even brought up as an issue during the recent mid-term elections. This tragic war jeopardizes not only the lives of American troops but directly affects our economy, which is in such dire shape because money spent on war is urgently needed to create jobs at home. This rally showed that those of
        us who were there have not forgotten what's going on in Afghanistan in our name."

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        Wednesday, December 22, 2010

        Who hired this man?





        12 men arrested over suspected terrorism plot in United Kingdom

        ABC2 News - ‎Dec 20, 2010‎
        The Associated Press LONDON - British authorities arrested 12 men on Monday, accusing them of plotting a terror attack in the United Kingdom. ...

        Police In UK Arrest 12 In Probe Of Terror

        Wall Street Journal - ‎21 hours ago‎
        By CASSELL BRYAN-LOW LONDON—UK police arrested 12 men in a large-scale counterterrorism operation described as "absolutely necessary" for public safety, ...



        Starting with every rape survivor's 'friend' Naomi Wolf. For those who are late to the party, Naomi continues to attack two women who may have been raped by Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. She insists that she's a big friend to rape survivors -- apparently when not implying they're liars or CIA agents or whatever else. Naomi, when did you cover Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi? That's right, you didn't. You had 'other things to do,' important ones. For example, when the final trial was taking place in Kentucky, you had a 'pressing' issue to cover instead as Cedric's "Naomi Wolf wins Dumbest on the Face of the Planet" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BACKLASH NAOMI WOLF!" noted May 4, 2009:
        Robin Morgan was able to write about it, Naomi. Video here of Jane Fonda speaking on the War Crimes. See, Naomi, most of us feminists were tackling this story. Where the hell were you? You couldn't be bothered, now could you? But now you want to boast about your expertise and commitment to the issue?
        Late to the party like Naomi? Fortunately the ring-leader is trying to get sympathy so we can provide the catch up. May 7, 2009 Steven D. Green was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents Kassem and Fakhriya and the murder of her five-year-old sister Hadeel while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. September 4, 2009, he was sentenced. Throughout it all, he failed to take accountability, instead whining and playing the victim. AP's Brett Barrouquere was one of the first reporters to cover Green's crimes ad he continues to cover the case. Sunday he was reporting on an interview he's done with Green.

        During the interview, Green whines about himself a lot and -- as with his court appearance -- demonstrates no remorse or real accountability for his actions. At one point, he tells Barrouquere, "If I hadn't ever been in Iraq, I wouldn't be in the kind of trouble I'm in now. I'm not happy about that." Well he could have gotten the death penalty, maybe he should be happy. Death is what he sentenced two young Iraqi girls and their parents to. Abeer's surviving family was very upset that he was going to prison and not getting the death penalty.

        Green killed four people, in cold blood. While he likes to lessen the rape, it was gang-rape and he went last. Plenty of time to 'cool off' (he's claiming he couldn't think more than 10 minutes into the future). He took part in the gang-rape and he killed Abeer. And before he killed her, he'd already killed her sister and her two parents.

        He killed four people. He gang-raped a 14-year-old girl. A 14-year-old girl he'd already been stalking. He'd stopped her at the neighborhood checkpoint, made unwanted advances and comments, her parents were getting her out of town, she would have been gone the next morning. But he and his friends broke into the family's home and gang-raped Abeer while she could hear Green killing her parents and her sister in the next room, then Green raped her, killing her after he got off and then attempting to set her corpse on fire.

        He tries to claim in his latest revision of history that he was despondent over deaths in Iraq but, as the jury was informed during the trial, "screwing Iraqi chicks" was what they'd been talking about as they began plotting, not about any deaths.

        Green was tried in civilian court because he had already been discharged when the crimes came to light. His co-conspirators were tried in military court (and were found guilty or admitted their guilt). On the military side, it started with an August 2006 Article 32 hearing held in Iraq in which US Army Capt Alex Pickands pointed out:

        Green's been playing the victim for some time. In his interview today, he's claiming he enlisted out of 'duty to country.' Really? Because it's already on record that he enlisted because he'd been arrested (again) and exhausted all other avenues. (He's also very lucky his juvenile records remain sealed.) At 19, with his record, he was looking at doing time. It was jail or the military and he made his choice. From day one, he's been convinced (and his attorneys believe it as well) that he doesn't belong behind bars for life and that's how he's acted all along (it's why he wasn't able to pull off a plea bargain, Marisa Ford wasn't going to go along with a slap on the wrist for a gang-rape and four murders). He killed four people in cold blood.

        To this day, there has been no effort on his part to acknowledge what his actions did -- that's why Abeer's family was outraged in the courtroom with her aunt having to leave the courtroom so enraged was she by his cavalier remarks. Green needs to take responsible for his actions. He wants to blame the military. The killers of Pfc Joseph John Anzack, Sgt 1st Class James D. Connell, Spc Daniel W. Courneya, Pfc Byron Wayne Fouty, Spc Alex Ramon Jimenez, Cpl Christopher E. Murphy and Sgt Anthony J. Schober are responsible for their actions as well. But it is something that Green has still never mentioned the 7 dead US soldiers whose killers claimed that they attacked because of the War Crimes carried out in Abeer's home -- they named. And this was before the US military was aware of what took place, they made their claim of retaliation for the murder and rape before the US military knew about what really happened at Abeer's home (it had been done by 'insurgents' was the finding at that time). After the assault on the seven soldiers (three of whom were in kidnapped status at the time and would later be found to be dead), Pfc Justin Watt came forward with what he'd heard the co-consipirators say and do (he came forward at the end of June 2006, a month after the assault on US soldiers). Green has never publicly acknowledged the deaths of those 7 soldiers. But he wants to repeatedly claim his actions were forced on him.
        Hey, maybe Naomi Wolf can take up his case next? Maybe, when he was killing the five-year-old girl, she didn't scream, "NO!" Maybe she just cried and so it wasn't -- in Naomi Wolf's mind -- Green's fault? Maybe when Green became the third man in a row to rape Abeer, she just sobbed and didn't get out the words "NO!" which made it okay with Naomi? Irin Carmon (Jezebel) takes on the 'logic' Naomi offered yesterday on Democracy Now!:

        She added, "If you're going to treat women as moral adults, and if you're going to take the issue of rape seriously, the person who's engaging in what he thinks is consensual sex, has to be told, 'I don't want this,' and again and again and again, these women did not say, this was not consensual."

        Friedman replied that if the women had been consenting, Assange wouldn't have needed to pin one down with his arms, or penetrate the other while she was sleeping, without a condom, contrary to her stated demand to use one. "Taking your clothes off with someone does not mean you consented to all sexual activity," she reminded Wolf.

        Wolf claimed Assange "consulted with the women" and that they had told him "yes, yes, yes," which isn't in the police report leaks that I read. "You're not respecting women by casting them as unable to assert what they want, or unwilling to speak about what they wish," she said.

        In a perfect world, every rape would be clear-cut and involve someone shouting no so as to make legal enforcement easy. Oh wait, in a perfect world, all sex would be consensual and no one would be woken up with an unwelcome, unsheathed penis inside of them.

        Carmon also tackles Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann. Moore we've called out here multiple times over the years. We were never, ever stupid enough to quote Olbermann here because his reputation with women is so vile that even the dark days of the Bush era, we knew to stay away from him. Bob Somerby has long documented Olbermann's sexism so you can refer to The Daily Howler. I don't excuse the behavior of either man but, as Ava and I have argued, they couldn't get away with it today if a woman wasn't waiving them through and providing them with cover so they could hide behind her and claim, "Hey, even 'feminist' Naomi Wolf . . ." Jessica Valentie offers a roundup of links on the topic here.
        On Democracy Now!, Naomi claimed that she'd heard from tons and tons of women which is surprising since her Facebook page is largely all male. When a woman does comment, she's either a right-winger supporting Naomi or someone calling her out like Rachel Casebolt:
        Rachel Casebolt Naomi: "So... if you're going to take the issue of rape seriously, the person who's engaging in what he thinks is consensual sex has to be told, "I don't want this." And again and again and again, these women did not say, "This is not consensual."
        This is some repugnant, anti-feminist trash.
        No one has a right to someone...
        else's body without affirmative consent. Unless you get a "yes," you do not have consent. Lack of "no" is not consent. This is Feminism 101 stuff. What were you thinking?
        As Harriet J posted today, "With friends like these, who needs rape culture?"

        I wonder if those 'women' Naomi claims to 'hear from' exist only in her head? At Girlfriend Junction, Jenn writes in the comments, "Also, I am still confused as to why Naomi Wolf gets to be some sort of 'feminist spokesperson' on this, after repeatedly putting her foot in ther mouth. And repeatedly being hell privileg-y." Naomi Wolf is not a spokesperson nor is she an expert on rape and if anyone bothered to read her bad books, they'd know that. Since January 2009, Ava and I have been calling her out on the gang-rape she enabled in college, refusing to call out the rapists (her friends) because she didn't want to be called a (her term) "lesbo." Realizing how few people read (and how few readers bother to read Naomi Wolf in the first place), Elaine posted that section from Promiscuities last night (it pages 177 - 178, by the way) so you can refer to that if you're just now discovering that Naomi repeatedly spits on women and stands with male sexual assailants. Yesterday on Democracy Now!, Naomi wanted to brag and get credit for "my 23 years of supporting rape victims" which would be after the gang-rape she helped cover up and for "working in rape crisis centers". Really? She thinks she can claim credit for the latter. Has she not read her own writing? Check out chapter eleven of her second book, Fire With Fire ("Case Studies" is chapter eleven), which is nothing but a rant about the rape center and the women at it. Here are some of her written complaints in her own words:
        * my spirits collapsed the instant I walked in the door
        * deadening atmoshpehere
        * [trapped in the beauty myth of her own making] people's skin look[ed] dead white or liverish gray-brown
        * a phone bank that was always too busy
        * dried-whey powdered coffee creamer, bulk freeze-dried coffee
        And that's just her opening. If only the workers at the center valued flowers as much as Naomi and physical appearance as much as she did. She confesses to treating "myself to a nice long drink of self-righteousness" thereby establishing where her current bad habits started. She whines that her work at the rape center (pay attention to this) would leave her "prompted to pick a fight with my perfectly friendly, nonabusive, housework-sharing boyfriend" (the one who dry humped the unwilling woman?). She whines that volunteering at the rape center meant "You were not allowed to laugh too much" and "You were never supposed to talk affectionately about your boyfriend". And, she whines, "The rape crisis center starved for lack of fun." Guess the Peace Corps must be thrilled right now that they didn't get college-era Naomi.
        Reflecting on Fire With Fire today, you quickly grasp that Naomi was actually charting how to succeed via sexism. She pretended otherwise but how else is page 95 to be read, for example? It's there that she confesses that declaring "Rape is bad" "can position a woman as a peculiar outsider." That sort of explains why she now attacks women who may have been raped, doesn't it? And certainly pages 97 through 99 (semi-charting her self-embarrassing encounters with an anti-feminist who publicly referred to her as an "air head") read as though they're not only describing that woman, they're describing herself. Choosing one sentence at random from page 97: "A writer who defines herself as a feminist while she generates some traditionally antifeminist opinions, ___ was feted in the very press that had assiduously neglected over the course of a decade to present to the public the currents of thought she indicted." Reads like Wolf's autobiography today.
        Wolf claims that she's now reaching more and more women. When the reality is -- check out any site with comments -- she's actually reaching men who loathe women and self-hating women and feeding into their hatred of women. She is the woman she criticizes starting on page 97. What a proud moment for her. This crowd ignores an actual feminist -- Susan Faludi, for example, who emerged in the book world at the same time as Naomi and whose books have always outsold Naomi's -- and embraces Naomi and the reason is obvious (even to Naomi): She's selling attacks on women and providing the yes-you-may to attackers. That's why they've embraced her. Caroline May (of the right-wing Daily Caller) files an article on the Naomi versus feminists. In it, Women's Media Center's Yana Walton calls out Michael Moore and Keith Oblermann and states, "When sexual violence and rape is such a huge part of women's lives internationally I don't think it is ever helpful to legitimize it. Rape is rape is rape is rape, and should be prosecuted as such." The New Agenda's Amy Siskind is quoted stating, "[Wolf] trivialized these women and rape generally and if you look online and at the blogosphere, she certainly stands alone. If this is what it is to be a Progressive, that we sublimate women and rape so thatw e can celebrate whatever [Michael Moore] is celebrating with freedom of speech. And I think women on the Progressive side need to reexamine how they are being treated." Angus Johnson (Student Activism) critiques (f-word warning) Naomi's nonsense on Democracy Now here. And Jill (Feministe) notes a campaign to raise awareness in Sweden of sexual assault.
        Julian Assange is the public face of WikiLeaks. He may or may not have raped two women. He does seem in danger of losing it these days and WikiLeaks would be wise to find a new public face quickly. Adam Gabbatt (Guardian) documents Assange's rants that the Guardian is out to get him and deliberately attempted to destroy his chances at receiving bill:
        The discussion was broadcast as the Times [of London] published its own interview with Assange, in which he said documents had been leaked to the Guardian in an attempt to undermine his final bail hearing, held on 16 December.
        However, the documents were not leaked to the Guardian, and details from the documents to which Assange referred were published only after the 16 December hearing.
        Assange was granted bail on 14 December, but remained in prison for a further two days after the Swedish authorities challenged the decision.
        [. . .]
        The Guardian published an article which included some details from the police statements online at 9.30pm on Friday 17 December, and in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday 18 December.
        Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) adds, "Assange's falling out with former allies may come as little surprise to many who have worked closely with him. Former WikiLeaks No. 2 Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who formerly went by the pseudonym Daniel Schmitt until breaking with the group earlier this year, has described Assange as "dictatorial" and has said he's creating a rival group dedicated to releasing government secrets in a more open and transparent manner." Nitash Tiku's "The WikiLeaks Sage Is All Working Out According to Assange's Plan" (New York Magazine) explores an essay/manifesto Julian Assange wrote and its meaning in light of his actions today:

        Provoking a stronger enemy into an overreaction is a classic strategy for insurgents, and it's not hard to see how some of the U.S. reactions to WikiLeaks have not been in the nation's best interest. Pressuring private companies to cut off websites the government doesn't like, especially without due process, will make it pretty hard for the U.S. to maintain the high ground with authoritarian governments like China or Iran. And prosecuting Assange will set a dangerous precedent that could land just about any newspaper or media outlet in the crosshairs next time, dangerously undermining the First Amendment.
        Yesterday the Guardian posted one of the US State Dept cables WikiLeaks had released in which the State Dept detailed a visit by Italian government officials expressing that the death of Nicola Calipari was not something the government is concerned one and that they desire "to put the incident behind us" and to avoid harming "our strong friendship and alliance." If true, that's appalling. Nicola Calipari was an Italian government agent. He was sent to Italy to secure the release of journalist Giuliana Sgrena. After doing so, he was shot dead by US soldier Mario Lozano Jr. and Sgrena was left wounded. Rajeev Syal (Guardian) reports on another cable which John Nagal wrote (January 2010) that "Halliburton's senior executive in Iraq accused private security companies of operating a 'mafia' to artificially inflate their 'outrageous prices'."

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        "Isaiah, Third and links"
        "Greta Garbo returns!"

        Tuesday, December 21, 2010

        Greta Garbo returns!








        Starting with peace news.
        There's a chance peace will come in your life please buy one
        For sometimes when I am feeling as a big as the land
        With the velvet hills in the small of my back
        And my hands are playing in the sand
        And my feet are swimming in all of the waters
        All of the rivers are givers to the ocean
        According to plan, according to man.
        -- "Peace Will Come (According To Plan)," written by Melanie (Safka) and first appears on her 1970 album Leftover Wine and her brand new album is Ever Since You Never Heard of Me
        Thursday a protest held outside the White House (see Friday's snapshot). Friday, Elaine observed, "Don't come asking why there aren't more protests if, when there is a significant one, you don't bother to cover it as significant. A couple of hundred participated on a cold DC day, when it was snowing. That's a lot in my opinion and it's an important protest and a news worthy one." She noted the report by Brian Ward (US Socialist Worker) who concludes his piece with: "The energy of the D.C. protest was high, even though it was snowing and cold. Protesters saw the importance of a rebirth of the antiwar movement, especially since Obama has made the Afghanistan war 'his war.' We need to organize and fight to end the wars and occupations." The Party for Socialism and Liberation explains, "Organized by Veterans for Peace, March Forward!, the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and several other organizations, the actions was the largest veterans-led civil disobedience since the wars began 10 years ago. Veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, World War II and other conflicts were among those arrested. Those arrested included Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition; Mike Prysner and Ryan Endicott, both Iraq War veterans and March Forward! organizers; Mike Ferner, president of Veterans for Peace; and Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the famous Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War." Tim King (Salem-News) also reports on the protest and he notes journalist and author Chris Hedges' speech:

        Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves.
        Hope does not separate us from them.
        Hope sees our enemy in our own face.
        Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful, hope is what the corporate state which saturates our airwaves with lies hopes seeks obliterate.
        Hope is what this corporate state is determined to crush. 'Be afraid' they tell us, 'surrender your liberties to us so we can make the world safe from terror, don't resist, embrace the alienation of our cheerful conformity, buy our products, without them you are worthless, become our brands, do not look up from your electronic hallucinations, no, above all do not think, obey'.

        Click here for the OpEdNews page with video of Chris Hedges' speech and a full transcript.
        Libbyliberal (Corrente) covered it this weekend and included fast-and-loose Dave Lindorff who swore on Saturday, "And yet, the protest event was completely blacked out by the corporate news media." Not knowing his history, Libbyliberal takes him at face value. But reality and Dave Lindorff are distant relations. From Thursday's snapshot:

        Cameron Joseph (National Journal) reports that Daniel Ellsberg was at the White House today "chained to its snowy gates as part of a protest organized by Veterans for Peace [. . .] Ellsberg was one of dozens arrested, the Associated Press reported." David Jackson (USA Today) explains, "It's cold and snowy in Washington, D.C., but that didn't stop protestors from showing up at the White House today to demonstrate against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Police appeared to arrest an unknown number of protestors as they sought to chain themselves to the White House fence." UPI offers a photo essay of the protest by Kevin Dietsch. David Swanson's War Is A Crime offers video of the protest. Paul Courson (CNN) states 131 is the number of activists arrested and cites US Park Police spokesperson David Schlosser as the source for that number. At Stop These Wars (umbrella group for the various groups and individuals organizing the action) it's noted, "131 veterans and others were arrested December 16 in front of the White House. Preliminary gallery of photos here. More to come."
        As we noted at Third, "So that's CNN, National Journal, USA Today, AP ad UPI. NPR would include it in hourly headlines." And they all covered it on Thursday while Dave Lindorff served up his (error filled) lecture on Saturday. Thursday on NPR's All Things Considered (link has audio and text), Mara Liasson would observe, "Polls show the Afghanistan War is now opposed by majorities in almost every country that sent troops, including the U.S. Dozens were arrested today outside the White House protesting the war. But Secretary [Robert] Gates made it clear the war is not about to end and that the decision to escalate a year ago was not revisited in the current review." If Dave Lindorff experienced a blackout, it wasn't a media one and maybe he shouldn't drink so much? And then there's Ray-Ray McGovern who shows up today to insist of Thursday's action: "What? You didn't hear about any of this, including the arrest of 135 veterans and other anti-war activists in front of the White House? Need I remind you of the Fawning Corporate Media and how its practioners have always downplayed or ignored protests, large or small, against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?"
        It was covered in the Media -- in the Corporate Media. It's too bad Ray McGovern fancies himself a media critic because that's just another failed task on his resume. I'm all for holding the media accountable -- but unlike Ray McGovern, I hold it all accountable, All Things Media Big and Small. And here's the reality. By refusing to cover it, Little Media (Panhandle Media) ensured that Big Media (Real Media) doesn't have to worry. The protest took place on Thursday. They covered it as much -- and often more -- than Panhandle Media. Ray-Ray doesn't know the first thing about the media and needs to sit his tired ass down. He loves to tell this one story about how NYT published the Pentagon Papers only because they were afraid others would cover it. Well, Ray-Ray, where was Democracy Now's live remote? What, they can bore us to tears with 10 hours of the DNC and 10 hours of the RNC conventions but Democracy Now can't cover the protest? Then there's no reason for Big Media to worry that they'll look foolish for not covering it. Why wasn't Leigh Ann Caldwell filing a report -- not a summary gleaned from AP but an actual damn report? She's FSRN's DC correspondent after all. Click here for Free Speech Radio News' embarrassing coverage. They didn't even give it 80 words and they air on Pacifica aka Peace Radio.
        I'm sorry Ray-Ray showed up late to the party and forgot to put on pants, but he's responsible for his own self-embarrassment. Amy Goodman can drag her ass to Mexico for Cancun talks on climate -- that we all know aren't going to accomplish a damn thing -- but the dumbass can't get her ass to DC for this protest? Ray-Ray, Lindorff and the other fools need to stop blaming Corporate Media -- which did cover it -- and grasp that if Little Media was treating like a real story when it happened, it would have influenced coverage elsewhere. That's how it works. People like Ray-Ray don't know a damn thing about the media or how it works and would do well to find another topic to discuss. "Heat" generates coverage. Which is why we didn't scream about the Tea Party here. But The Nation and The Progressive and MSNBC's nightime line up refusing to shut up about the Tea Party gave it heat and it got coverage. If the same outlets had done the same with the protest, it would have dominated Friday morning's news cycle. Why is that?
        Ray-Ray can't tell you because he's ignorant of the media. A) It would have provided "heat" to the story and B) the mid-terms. The honeymoon's over with the press. They're looking for stories that reflect that attitudes of America. Barack's honeymoon's over and the left protesting him -- not just penning articles but protesting him? -- that would have fed into the news cycle so quickly and so well -- and the media had already constructed the narrative for it. In fact, that's why it was covered by the outlets that did cover it.
        This is the third snapshot we've covered the peace action in -- we've treated it seriously. On the articles now rushing out on the topic, Bradley Manning is innocent until proven guilty. We're not highlighting any article that can't grasp that. As Dalia Hashad notes on Law and Disorder Radio (WBAI today, throughout the country the rest of the week) of government charges in another case, "I don't like to get into the details of these cases because the narrative is controlled by the FBI." We're not linking to articles where the writer's doing the government's bidding by insisting Bradley Manning is guilty as charged -- and doing so when Bradley has never spoken publicly on the charges. Sunday Cheryl Biren (OpEdNews) files the most in-depth report I've seen so far and it has text and videos. We'll note this from it:
        Firing up the crowd was March Forward's Michael Prysner. Prysner, who joined the Army at 17, took part in the initial invasion of Iraq. In an earlier report, he explained that he spent 12 months in Iraq doing everything from prisoner interrogations to home raids. He believed that he was going to Iraq to help liberate an oppressed people. He said that he soon realized that his purpose was to be the oppressor and to "clear the way for the U.S. Corporations with no regard for human life."
        Now the national director of, Prysner told OpEdNews, "The message is that it is crystal clear that this government is not going to end these wars, the wars that the vast majority of people want to end and the wars that have no purpose other than expanding the reach of Wall Street and oil giants and that is really the main function of US policy."
        He concluded that "Because this government is incapable of ending these wars and will not end these wars, the people have to stand up and fight to force these wars to end."
        When asked about the efficacy of such actions, Prysner replied, "We don't think we're going to end the war today. We know that. But, these things to do make a difference. We're sending a message to the government that we're not waiting for them to spill out more lies about the war and more falsehoods and we're going to stand up and fight and that we're going to disrupt business as usual." Prysner hopes to bring people into the movement as part of a growing force that he believes will be capable of ending the wars.
        At the Indypendent, Ellen Davidson has a brief text report with links to many of her photos of the action. By the way, is it true that despite all Julian Assange's claims to be financially supporting Bradley's legal defense, that WikiLeaks has never given a penny to it? Yes, it is. From the Bradley Mannin Support Network:
        Immediately following Bradley's arrest in late June 2010, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks publicly solicited donations specifically for Bradley's legal defense expenses. In July 2010, WikiLeaks pledged to contribute "a substantial amount" towards Bradley's legal defense costs. Since Bradley's selection of David Coombs as his civilian defense attorney in August 2010, the Bradley Manning Support Network has unsuccessfully attempted to facilitate the pledged WikiLeaks contribution.
        "We understand the difficult situation Wikileaks currently faces as the world's governments conspire to extinguish the whistle-blower website," explained Jeff Paterson, Bradley Manning Support Network steering committee member and project director of Courage to Resist ( "However, in order to meet Bradley Manning's legal defense needs, we're forced to clarify that Wikileaks has not yet made a contribution towards this effort. We certainly welcome any contribution from Wikileaks, but we need to inform our supporters that it may not be forthcoming and that their continued contributions and support are crucial."
        Donations towards Bradley's defense can be made at -- to either the Support Network for both public education efforts and legal defense, or directly to Bradley's legal trust account.
        So despite repeatedly and publicly stating he would be covering the defense cost, Julian Assange has provided not one penny? All these months later, not one penny? Support Bradley Manning notes Bradley has now been held a prisoner for 208 days without trial including December 17th which was his 23rd birthday. That's a lot to put on the shoulders of someone so very young.
        Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Manning is now at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. As Daniel Ellsberg reminded from the stage in Oakland last September, "We don't know all the facts." But we know, as Ellsberg pointed out, that the US military is attempting to prosecute Bradley. Paul Courson (CNN) notes Bradley is a suspect and, "He has not admitted guilt in either incident, his supporters say."

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